CNN, 2016
Documentation photo of CNN, 2016

By Olivia Broome on 18 November 2016

It was a hot and humid July day in Sambutan, Indonesia. Junaidi, his brother Ramadhani and their neighbor Miftahul were running and shouting as they raced each other down dirt paths of the spiraling mining pit. Each child was trying to be the first to reach the enticing turquoise pool of water at the bottom of the mine. They arrived at the water’s edge and jumped in to cool off, splashing each other and swimming out into the middle of the expansive body of water.

Hours passed by as the children played in the abandoned pit. As evening fell, their mother waited for their return in time for dinner. With no sign of them, she anxiously alerted her neighbors and the authorities. Early next morning the children’s bodies were found, floating in the blue depths of the abandoned pool.

Stories like these are all too common in the region of East Kalimantan. Since 2011, 26 children’s deaths have been reported around Samarinda where most of the mining pits are concentrated. Their ages range from 3 to 17 years old.

How did so many mining pits appear? How’s the response of the civil society organizations? Read more